How to drink at every holiday party without destroying your fitness goals
Let me get one thing out of the way: everyone should eat or drink however much they want, during the holidays and all the damn time. I’m not here to tell you you need to change.
But when your social calendar is full of seven parties a week and you plan to rage at every one, the hangovers can start to accumulate and before you know it, you haven’t exercised in a week and all the hard work you put into your fitness this year is being sabotaged.
So we talked to Mantas Zvinas, a totally shredded trainer who founded SurfYogaBeer — a company that plans trips which, as you can tell by the name, incorporate equal amounts of working out and boozing. Below are his tips for why boozing over the holidays doesn’t have to destroy your fitness goals.
1. “Balance is a lifestyle, not a cheat day.”
One new trend in dieting includes eating and drinking barely anything six days a week, while you gorge yourself on the seventh as a “cheat day.” According to Mantas, this is a recipe for disaster — especially during the holiday season. Only observing one cheat day a week is a joke when you’ve got parties to go to every night.
“I believe that while sticking to fitness and nutrition goals is a large part of living a healthy lifestyle, balance is key in maintaining those habits,” Mantas said. “The ‘beer’ in SurfYogaBeer represents unwinding and having fun, which is a core part of my mantra.”
If you’re only eating and drinking what you want one day a week, then you’re not unwinding and having fun — you’re bingeing. Make smart choices every day and you can squeeze a couple drinks in way more than once a week.
Even if you had a rough night, try to eat healthy instead of indulging in drunk-eating or hangover food. It’ll suck for an hour or two but you’ll end up stopping the cycle of bad food choices before it starts.
2. “Don’t count calories, it’s never-ending.”
If you adhere to a numbers-based diet during the holidays, you’re going to go insane quick. Instead of beating yourself up over the calorie counts of your favorite drinks, focus on the health benefits. This means stuffing your face with veggies and lean protein during the day and at parties if you can — and yes, treating alcohol as if it’s healthy in moderation. Because it is!
“Alcohol is often associated with bad health and rapid weight gain,” Mantas says, “but while there are some negative effects, research shows that it’s not all bad and there are some health benefits to drinking alcohol.”
In fact, consuming one to two drinks a few times a week has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce the risk of hypertension, support cardiovascular health. It can even slightly improve your immune system.
Keep in mind that these “one to two drinks” shouldn’t be egg nog or other sugary, high-fat beverages. Instead, stick to clear spirits like vodka and add zero-calorie mixers like club soda. Wine and ciders with low sugar are also safe bets.
Commit to switching to water after you’re done your two boozy “health” drinks, and you’ll feel good enough to work out in the morning.
3. “It’s all social.”
Okay, so you’re socializing every night — why not socialize during the day by booking workout classes with your friends? As a bonus, if you can get someone to work out with you the morning after a soirée, they’ll want to drink less, too. That means they’re less likely to pressure you into ripping Fireball-and-Bailey’s shots.
“Much like drinking, working out should be social as well,” Mantas says. “Don’t let restrictions make you crazy. Nothing in life is extremely cut and dry and socially drinking shouldn’t be either. I’ve found that the people I work out with have become the best drinking buddies and there’s nothing better than sweating out the tequila together.”
If you follow these tips, then once your week (or month…) of smart boozing is over, it’ll be way easier to undo the damage come January.